Page images




app. Page, pages.

p. Congress. Cong. Part, parts.

.pt., pts. Cutter table. ..CT Public Documents Library

.P.D.L. Department. Dept. Quarto.

40 Document.

doc. Report. Executive.

ex. Revised statutes. Folio. .fo Section, sections..

sec. House H. Senate.

s. House concurrent resolution. H.C.R. Senate concurrent resolution

.S.C.R. House document. II. doc. Senate document.

.S. doc. House executive document. II.ex. doc. Senate executive document.

.S. ex. doc. House joint resolution... H.J. R. Senate joint resolution.

.S. J. R. House miscellaneous document. H. misc. doc. Senate miscellaneous document, .S. misc. doc. House report.

Senate report..

S. House resolution (simple).

H. R. Senate resolution (simple). Inch, inches.

.in. Serial number assigned to bound volumes of Latitude .lat. Congressional documents.

.serial no. Leal, leaves. l. Session..

sess. Longitude. long. Sixteenmo.

.160 Mile, miles. m. Special.

.spec., sp. Miscellaneous .misc. siatutes at large.

.Stat. L, Nautical. .naut. Thirtytwo-mo.

320 No date.

.n. d.

Treas. No place..

.n. p.

120 No title-page.

.n. t. p.

240 Number, numbers.

.no., nos.

VS., v. Octavo...

so Volume, volumes..
Also the common abbreviations for the names of the States and of the months.
H. or 8. followed by a number stands for House bill or Senate bill, respectively.

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When place and printer are not given, “Washington, Government Printing Office," is to be understood.

When size is not given, octavo is to be understood. Size of maps is measured from outer edge of border, excluding margin.

Serial and Congressional document numbers are added to entries for the corresponding bureau edition thus “[2309-269].” Asterisk (*) indicates that the publication is not in the Public Documents Library.




Preface to 3d edition.





Definition of " public document"

Catalogues and indexes issued by the Documents Office...

Early general indexes to Congressional documents and reports.

Indexes to Mc Kee's compilation of committee reports ....

Poore's catalogue......

Ames's Comprehensive indexes.

Hickcox's monthly catalogue.

Ist edition of the Checklist..

2d edition of the Checklist.

Tables and index.....

3d edition of the Checklist.

Departmental publications.

Department symbol, first term in classification number.

Bureau, office, or division symbol, second term in classification


Series symbol, third term in classification number...

Book number, fourth term in classification number.

Examples of complete classification numbers...

Maps, Charts, and Specifications.....

Congressional notation following entries for bureau editions

Annual reports curtailed by Executive order....

Advance sheets of 3d edition of the Checklist.

Early Congress papers..

Congressional series..

Serial numbers.

Table showing where in previous publications serial numbers may

be found....

Changes in certain serial numbers..

Serial numbers not possible for first 14 Congresses.

Repeating the “document number"

Arrangement of the documents..

Numbering of series.....

Sessional indexes to the Congressional set:

Title-pages and “ back titles”.

Annual reports and serial publications for depository libraries.


Congressional tables....




1. Table showing number of documents and reports.....


2. List of title-pages and imprints of documents and reports..


3. Reference table showing duration of sessions of Congress, etc. 185-188


The 3d edition of the Checklist of United States public documents, herewith presented, records the first systematic effort to include within the limits of one publication an approximately complete checklist of all public documents issued by the United States Government during the first century and a quarter of its history. It claims to be only a checklist, not a catalogue; but it aims to be as complete and accurate a checklist as human energy and enthusiasm could evolve for publication within the narrow confines of a single reference work, which must be in a form both usable and concise. To meet such conditions has been a task the difficulties of which can be appreciated to their fullest extent by very few aside from the compilers themselves.

DEFINITION OF "PUBLIC DOCUMENT” At the very outset it seems desirable to trace the legislative definitions of the term "public document" and then to define its use in this Checklist, since in collecting a library or making catalogues or lists of public documents, the ever recurring question is, “Which are and which are not public documents?”

Since 1861, the date of the establishment of the Government Printing Office, the decision is an easy one, for, with but few exceptions, as when the publishing office has prevailed upon the Public Printer to omit the official imprint, or in cases of works published but not printed by the Government, all the issues are imprinted “Washington, Government Printing Office.” For the period prior to 1861, it is more difficult to determine just what publications should be included in the library and lists.

The term “public document" was first legally defined in sec. 13 of chapter 63, Laws of 29th Congress, 2d session, approved Mar. 3, 1847, as follows: “Such publications or books as have been or may be published, procured, or purchased by order of either House of Congress, or a joint resolution of the two Houses, shall be considered as public documents."

By act approved June 23, 1874, Laws of 43d Congress, 1st session, sec. 13 of chapter 456, this definition is abridged to the following: “The term 'public document' is hereby defined to be all publications printed by order of Congress or either House thereof." This definition was made in relation to postage and is certainly most inadequate.

The practice of the Office of the Superintendent of Documents, officially adopted, as authorized by law, in compiling its catalogues of the public documents of the United States, and further legalized by many years of unqualified acceptance by all branches of the Federal Government, has been thus formulated: “Any publication printed at Government expense or published by authority of Congress or any Government publishing office, or of which an edition has been bought by Congress or any Government office for division among Members of Congress or distribution to Government officials or the public, shall be considered a public document." Thus it will be seen that a very liberal view has been taken, and although it has been ruled to debar any and all publications which, however closely allied to the operations of the Government, were not found have been printed or purchased by it, some exceptions have been made where there was doubt as to the publisher. CATALOGUES AND INDEXES ISSUED BY THE DOCUMENTS OFFICE

Since the establishment of the Office of the Superintendent of Documents there has been a steadily increasing interest in all matters which pertain to the public document question. The office was established under the printing act of Jan. 12, 1895, sec. 62 of which provided for the publication of the Document catalogue. This is a complete catalogue in dictionary form, containing entries for all publications of the Government, both Congressional and departmental, and covering a period of two years. Document catalogues have been issued by Congresses, beginning with the 53d, one book for each Congress, with the exception of the 54th, which was issued in two books, one for each session.

The Document index was provided for by the same section of the above-mentioned act. It is an index to Congressional documents only, and in a single volume supplants six indexes; for prior to the 54th Congress the six series of the Congressional setSenate executive documents, Senate miscellaneous documents, Senate reports, House executive documents, House miscellaneous documents, and House reports—were each separately indexed and the index for each of these series was repeated in all volumes of that series. The Document indexes began with the 54th Congress, 1st session, and are issued after the close of each regular session. This makes 2 indexes for each Congress. In the case of the 55th Congress, however, 3 were issued, the index to the documents and reports of the special session (the 1st) being separately issued, whereas for other special sessions called since that time the indexes thereto have been incorporated in the index for the regular session.

Section 69 of the same act made provision for the Monthly catalogue, which has been issued for each month from Jan. 1895, 12 numbers for each year. The Monthly catalogue, like the Document catalogue, includes both Congressional and departmental publications, with the exception of the period from July, 1907, to June, 1908, covering the 1st session of the 60th Congress, during which time all Congressional publications and such departmental publications as were not obtainable were omitted from the Monthly.

The Document catalogue is the permanent record. It replaces the Monthly catalogues for the period covered, the Monthlies being ephemeral in character. The Document catalog also covers the same grou though in

different way, as do the 2 Document indexes for the same Congress.

Beginning with Mar. 4, 1893, therefore, our Document catalogues, Document indexes, and Monthly catalogues have been the keys which unlocked the treasures to be found in public documents issued during recent years; but what keys were there to unlock the treasures of more than a century, that is, from 1789 to 1893? There were Poore's Descriptive catalogue, Ames's Comprehensive index, and a few other working tools, all of which dealt mostly with Congressional documents and said comparatively little about the multitudinous publications of the Executive Departments and independent Government establishments which from their very beginnings have poured forth a steady stream of books and pamphlets. Unfortunately, only comparatively few Government publishing offices have attempted to preserve for posterity a complete file of their own publications. It is therefore no wonder that general lists or indexes have been so few and so unsatisfactory. The most important bibliographical aids for general research work among public documents are briefly mentioned in the following pages. EARLY GENERAL INDEXES TO CONGRESSIONAL DOCUMENTS AND

REPORTS For the very early period there is an interesting old volume composed of 4 separately printed indexes, each with its own title-page, the whole preceded by a leaf containing the half-title "Index to documents and reports, House of Representatives, 1789–1839,” and a table of contents. Each of the 4 indexes had appeared in the shcepbound set of Congressional documents, either as a part or as the whole of serial numbers 104, 852, 209 2, and 350. The first of these indexes covers from the 1st to the 14th Congress, 1789–1817, for Executive documents, and from the 1st to the 15th Congress, 1789–1819, for reports of committees. The second covers from the 15th to the 17th Congress, 1817-23, and indexes both Executive documents and reports. The

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